It was a shocker and an upset, but far from upsetting. TJ Dillashaw did what many (including myself) did not think he had in him to accomplish - defeating, nay, DESTROYING, the man considered by some to be the pound-for-pound best fighter alive. It was an outcome I wanted but did not expect. And my hands JUST stopped sweating from the tension.
What made Dillashaw's victory even sweeter was that he didn't just ride out the clock to secure the victory. He stayed aggressive, never once paying attention to how many points he may be up on the scorecard. He came into the first round strong, and ended up plastering a head kick with follow-up punches to ground Barao, finishing the fight in a TKO victory with the attitude of a man who was down on the scorecards and also had nothing to lose.
I would have to agree with Joe Rogan in that TJ Dillashaw's Championship performance tonight was one of the greatest performances in modern fight history.
PREDICTION: BARAO defeats Dillashaw by TKO (Round 3)
ACTUAL: DILLASHAW deated Barao by TKO (Round 5) to become the new UFC Bantamweight Champion
CO-MAIN EVENT - Daniel Cormier versus Dan Henderson
PREDICTION: CORMIER defeats Henderson via unanimous decision.
ACTUAL: CORMIER defeats Henderson via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 3
Dan Henderson asked for this fight, and from the very beginning of the announcement, nearly everyone could see it was a huge mismatch. Cormier had the size advantage, youth advantage, skill-set advantage, and the momentum. Henderson, on the other hand, while having the heart of a fucking lion for asking for this matchup, was also taking the fight during his first non-exemption for his testosterone replacement therapy. He was underweight (199 lbs), and Cormier looked like a heavyweight in comparison.
I have to give Henderson all the respect he deserves for the amazing feats he has accomplished in the past in Pride AND the UFC, but he either needs to drop to the Middleweight class or stop asking for such high-level opponents. I want to see him win, but he has no chance against Jon Jones or Chris Weidman.
Robbie Lawler versus Jake Ellenberger
PREDICTION: LAWLER defeats Ellenberger via TKO (Round 2).
ACTUAL: LAWLER defeated Ellenberger via TKO (Round 3)
Pretty damn close to my prediction. Lawler fights with the experience of a man who just doesn't give a shit for all the right reasons. Ellenberger, on the other hand, looked completely out of place for the most part. Lawler struck him hard from the very start, and ended up putting the man out of his misery with a couple well-placed eye punches. Possibly one more fight and Lawler will get another shot at the title.
Jamie Varner versus James Krause
PREDICTION: VARNER defeats Krause by split decision.
ACTUAL: KRAUSE defeated Varner via TKO (disgusting rubbering of a broken left ankle in the first round).
Honestly, watching the replays of Varner's rubber ankle was one of the most stomach-churning things that I've seen since Jon Jones broke his big while toe trying to rape Chael Sonnen. And Anderson Silva has broken his leg since then, but STILL, for some reason, watching Varner gut it out and try to simply walk on a foot that had absolutely no support was fucking disturbing. Some things just get me more than others, I guess.
In the end, I got 2 out of 4 correct on my main card pics. Since UFC 172, my predictions stand at:
11 correct pics on the winner in 15 total fights.
For you betting fans, that a 73% success rate.
UFC 173 Final Grade: A
Dillashaw surprised in the best possible way, which made up for the disappointment of seeing one of my all-time favorite fighters in Dan Henderson get man-handled like a vegan in a steak-eating competition. Lawler was on point, and Varner's attempts at walking in defiance of human anatomy and gravity will give me nightmares for at least two days.